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Thursday, June 14, 2018

Pure Art of the Moron

By:  Rick Wilson - Daily Beast

I’m often on the receiving end of the Trumpentariat’s criticisms of Never Trump conservatives.

Don’t I get it? Don’t I love how Trump is achieving the impossible, and soaring to heights to which no other president could aspire? Haven’t I gotten over the election yet? When, oh when, will I finally MAGA? I received an email Tuesday from a Trump fan asking why for once I couldn’t congratulate Donald Trump for his work with North Korea.

Leaving aside my usual critiques of Trump, which are, as you may have noticed, colorful, varied, and pointed, let’s give the president a fair assessment of his week’s activities, and thanks and credit where thanks and credit are due.

Of course, we start when Trump fled the humid confines of Washington, D.C., jetting to Quebec to blow up the G7 summit and take a massive political and rhetorical dump on some of our longest-standing and closest allies. But I’m playing nice, so thank you, Mr. President, for adopting 19th-century trade policies that combine both raging economic illiteracy and inevitably adverse outcomes for America. Well done.

Thank you, because nothing says Presidential Stature like your juvenile dick-waving and insults attacking the heads of state of the G7 nations. Thanks are also in order for deploying your clown-car motorcade of loudmouth, shock-jock aides to make the damage worse.
Great work taking direction from the Home Office in Moscow; you spent more time at the G7 summit doing Vladimir Putin’s bidding than you did strengthening the ties between the United States and our closest allies.


Even so, I’m supposed to thank the president, right? Well, thank you, Donald. You sent a message to our allies in Asia and beyond that you’re willing to compromise their security and ours for an inconsequential photo-op with a hopped-up fatboy dictator who looks like Pyongyang already has a Krispy Kreme and a Popeyes, and he’s the only one allowed to eat in them

Russia, Iran, Syria, and other bad actors want to thank you, Mr. President. You sent the clearest of signals that sanctions regimes, inspections, and verified denuclearization are no longer relevant in our brave new era of nationalist populist strongmen and Michael Bay knockoff videos.

Evidently, all the bad guys have to do is kiss your ample ass long enough and shower you with enough superficial praise and they can play you like the trifling intellectual lightweight you most certainly are. So, thank you for that reminder.

Nobel Prizes may have been dancing in your head on your way to Singapore, and perhaps the Nobel Committee will fire up the forge and cast you an extra super-glitzy giant prize, out of gratitude.

Perhaps the medal will make up for the fact Kim Jong Un took away every single thing he wanted from this meeting, including the propaganda coup of all propaganda coups.

Ever wonder what the consequences of legitimizing a nuclear-armed madman who has used chemical weapons on his own family, starved his people, and engaged in systematic mass murder to retain power might be? Congratulations! You’re about to find out. Us too.

Evidently, the purpose of the trip was to produce a communiqué so shallow, meaningless, and ephemeral that its contents were a combination of already-broken DPRK agreements and back-of-the-envelope wishcasting. Our South Korean allies may seem freaked out, but it’s just their way of appreciating you.

Well done, Mr. President. You got your on-camera handshake with a man who orders the deaths of children. You got your lunch with one of the few remaining dictators on this earth and put the Leader of the Free World on the same level as a hereditary thug who killed his half-brother with chemical weapons.  (Continues...)

Monday, June 4, 2018

Patti Davis: What my father, Ronald Reagan, would say today

Patti Davis is the daughter of Ronald and Nancy Reagan.


My father used to talk about a recurring dream he had in which he was walking into a beautiful white building with grand columns, knowing that it was his new home. When he was elected president, he said the image finally made sense to him. Once in the White House, he never had the dream again.

He had a reverence and a love for America that burned in his eyes when he looked at the flag, that bled into his words when he spoke to the country. Selfishly, I used to feel slighted by that love. I referred sometimes to my “sibling rivalry” with America. My strident protests against some of my father’s policies definitely got his attention, which was what I intended — but they also wounded him, which was not my intention. In his last years of life, when Alzheimer’s disease had stolen many things but not love, I was able to sit with him and tell him my regrets. I miss my father in deeply personal ways. I also miss the dignity that he brought to the task of leading this country, the deep respect he had for our democracy, and now, after so much time has passed, I miss how much he loved America.

People often ask me what he would say if he were here now. Sometimes I’m a bit glib in response, pointing out that he’d be 107 years old. Other times, I simply say he’d be pretty horrified at where we’ve come to. But as the June 5 anniversary of his death has drawn near, I’ve let myself imagine what he would say to the country he loved so much.

I think he would remind us that America began as a dream in the minds of men who dared to envision a land that was free of tyranny, with a government designed and structured so that no one branch of government could dominate the others. It was a bold and brave dream. But, he would caution, no government is infallible. Our democracy, because it is founded on the authority of “We the people,” puts the burden of vigilance on all American citizens.

Countries can be splintered from within, he would say. It’s a sinister form of destruction that can happen gradually if people don’t realize that our Constitution will protect us only if the principles of that document are adhered to and defended. He would be appalled and heartbroken at a Congress that refuses to stand up to a president who not only seems ignorant of the Constitution but who also attempts at every turn to dismantle and mock our system of checks and balances.

He would plead with Americans to recognize that the caustic, destructive language emanating from our current president is sullying the dream that America once was. And in a time of increased tensions in the world, playing verbal Russian roulette is not leadership, it’s madness. He would point to one of the pillars of our freedom — a free press — which sets us apart from dictatorships and countries ruled by despots. He didn’t always like the press — no president does — but the idea of relentlessly attacking the media as the enemy would never have occurred to him. And if someone else had done so, he wouldn’t have tolerated it.

He would ask us to think about the Statue of Liberty and the light she holds for immigrants coming to America for a better life. Immigrants like his ancestors, who persevered despite prejudice and signs that read “No Irish or dogs allowed.” There is a difference between immigration laws and cruelty. He believed in laws; he hated cruelty.  (Continues at WaPo)

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Madeleine Albright: Will We Stop Trump Before It’s Too Late?

If freedom is to prevail over the many challenges to it, American leadership is urgently required. This was among the indelible lessons of the 20th century. But by what he has said, done and failed to do, Mr. Trump has steadily diminished America’s positive clout in global councils.

Instead of mobilizing international coalitions to take on world problems, he touts the doctrine of “every nation for itself” and has led America into isolated positions on trade, climate change and Middle East peace. Instead of engaging in creative diplomacy, he has insulted United States neighbors and allies, walked away from key international agreements, mocked multilateral organizations and stripped the State Department of its resources and role. Instead of standing up for the values of a free society, Mr. Trump, with his oft-vented scorn for democracy’s building blocks, has strengthened the hands of dictators. No longer need they fear United States criticism regarding human rights or civil liberties. On the contrary, they can and do point to Mr. Trump’s own words to justify their repressive actions.

At one time or another, Mr. Trump has attacked the judiciary, ridiculed the media, defended torture, condoned police brutality, urged supporters to rough up hecklers and — jokingly or not — equated mere policy disagreements with treason. He tried to undermine faith in America’s electoral process through a bogus advisory commission on voter integrity. He routinely vilifies federal law enforcement institutions. He libels immigrants and the countries from which they come. His words are so often at odds with the truth that they can appear ignorant, yet are in fact calculated to exacerbate religious, social and racial divisions. Overseas, rather than stand up to bullies, Mr. Trump appears to like bullies, and they are delighted to have him represent the American brand. If one were to draft a script chronicling fascism’s resurrection, the abdication of America’s moral leadership would make a credible first scene.

Equally alarming is the chance that Mr. Trump will set in motion events that neither he nor anyone else can control. His policy toward North Korea changes by the day and might quickly return to saber-rattling should Pyongyang prove stubborn before or during talks. His threat to withdraw from the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement could unravel a pact that has made the world safer and could undermine America’s reputation for trustworthiness at a critical moment. His support of protectionist tariffs invites retaliation from major trading partners — creating unnecessary conflicts and putting at risk millions of export-dependent jobs. The recent purge of his national security team raises new questions about the quality of advice he will receive. John Bolton starts work in the White House on Monday.

What is to be done? First, defend the truth. A free press, for example, is not the enemy of the American people; it is the protector of the American people. Second, we must reinforce the principle that no one, not even the president, is above the law. Third, we should each do our part to energize the democratic process by registering new voters, listening respectfully to those with whom we disagree, knocking on doors for favored candidates, and ignoring the cynical counsel: “There’s nothing to be done.”

I’m 80 years old, but I can still be inspired when I see young people coming together to demand the right to study without having to wear a flak jacket.

We should also reflect on the definition of greatness. Can a nation merit that label by aligning itself with dictators and autocrats, ignoring human rights, declaring open season on the environment, and disdaining the use of diplomacy at a time when virtually every serious problem requires international cooperation?

To me, greatness goes a little deeper than how much marble we put in our hotel lobbies and whether we have a Soviet-style military parade. America at its best is a place where people from a multitude of backgrounds work together to safeguard the rights and enrich the lives of all. That’s the example we have always aspired to set and the model people around the world hunger to see. And no politician, not even one in the Oval Office, should be allowed to tarnish that dream.  (Full Story NYT)